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Sculpting the Insaniak Way: Skull Badges  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
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Made in au
Cutting stuff up and bunging it back together in new and interesting ways.

Under the couch

I've been promising to put up tutorials for various bits and pieces for a couple of years now, and have just never had the time. Figured the new forum was a good excuse to finally nail something down.

But what to start with?

Well, the choice is obvious: Skulls.

Every miniature needs a good supply. But I've noticed in recent years that GW have become somewhat slack with the provision of skulls on their miniatures. Some miniatures feature only a couple of them, and the occasional extremely unfortunate sculpt will have none at all.

Well, now you can fix that. By following this tutorial, you can load your miniatures up with skulls until the skull throne itself turns green with envy.

First off: Tools. You'll need putty (obviously), your sculpting tool of choice (shown here are a standard sculpting tool and a wax carver, which has a rubber tip that is just perfect for green stuff work where you don't need particularly hard edges) and a hobby knife. A cup of water is also handy for dipping your tools before working the putty.

So, Step 1:
Roll a small ball of mixed putty into an egg shape.

Obviously, the amount of putty you'll need will depend on the size of the skull you want. You might want to experiment on some scrap bases or plasticard to get the hang of sizes and shapes before trying to sculpt directly onto your miniatures.

Step 2:
Use the flat bottom of your hobby knife (or something similar, if your hobby knife doesn't have a flat end) to press the putty down into a flattish oval.

Step 3:
Use the rounded end of the sculpting tool to press two oval eye sockets into the putty, about halfway up the oval.

Step 4:
Grab your hobby knife, and cut two vertical nasal slits by pushing the tip of the blade slightly into the putty just below the eys and pushing it upwards towards the top of the oval. This should create a slit in the putty and raise a ridge (the top of the nasal cavity) between the eyes.

Step 5:
Cut horizontal lines right through the putty underneath each eye socket, extending in about a third of the way across the oval.

Step 6:
From the inner end of these cuts, cut vertically down to the bottom of the oval.

Step 7:
The small triangles on either side can then be pulled away with the tip of the hobby knife. You now have a top jaw.

Then, cut horizontally along the bottom of the oval to trim the jaw down to the length you want it to be. This can vary, depending on how you want the skull to look. A more stylised or bestial skull might have a very long jaw, whilst a more human skull would have a shorter one.

Step 8:
Take the knife again, and cut small vertical nicks into the bottom of the jaw to form the teeth. I generally use three nicks (one in the centre, then one each halfway across on either side) but you can use as many as you want, depending on how many teeth you want on there.

Step 9:
Take your sculpting tool, and laying it sideways, impress a vertical indent running up each side of the skull above the eyes. Then round off the cheekbones by pressing in the corners left by your horizontal cuts before.

At this point, you have a basic skull. If you're after something relatively stylised and decorative, you can leave it there. Or, you can tweak it a little...

Step 10:
Using the hobby knife, cut small slits into the putty along the top of each tooth to give them a little more definition. You can also add ridges above the nose, or at the corners of the cheeks using the tip of the knife.

Step 11:
You can lengthen the skull slightly if necessary by rolling a wax carver upwards along the skull while applying gentle pressure, or by pulling the putty upwards with the back of a metal sculpting tool.

Step 12:
The eyes can be reshaped to give the skull a slightly different expression, or to make it look more nasty, by pushing the edges of the sockets in or out with the tip of a sculpting tool.

Step 13:
The teeth can be sharpened by pushing in their lower edges with the tip of your knife, creating a slim triangle shape.

Step 14:
Or you can make it more bestial or demonic, by adding extra eye sockets, horns, longer teeth... or whatever else you can come up with. You could also add eyeballs by letting the skull set, and then pushing small balls of putty into the sockets with the top of a sculpting tool and then smoothing them down.

And that's about it. Take some time to practice, and soon you will be able to festoon your models with skullz to your heart's content.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2009/05/04 21:23:52

Made in us
Jinking Ravenwing Land Speeder Pilot

San Diego, CA USA

Nice tutorial! Skulls always kick my butt. Thanx for this.

Made in us
Wolf Guard Bodyguard in Terminator Armor

To do wolf skulls all you need to do is make the skull elongated, make larger nose-holes, and longer teeth.

I've done this a few times to convert standard 'nilla marines into more space wolfy versions.

THE HORUS HERESY: Emprah: Hours, go reconquer the galaxy so there can be a new golden age. Horus: But I should be Emprah, bawwwwww! Emprah: Magnus, stop it with the sorcery. Magnus: But I know what's best, bawwwwww! Emprah: Horus, tell Russ to bring Magnus to me because I said so. Horus: Emprah wants you to kill Magnus because he said so. Russ: Fine. Emprah's always right. Plus Ole Red has already been denounced as a traitor and I never liked him anyway. Russ: You're about to die, cyclops! Magnus: O noes! Tzeentch, I choose you! Bawwwww! Russ: Ah well. Now to go kill Horus. Russ: Rowboat, how have you not been doing anything? Guilliman: . . . I've been writing a book. Russ: Sigh. Let's go. Guilliman: And I fought the Word Bearers! Horus: Oh shi--Spess Puppies a'comin? Abbadon: And the Ultramarines, sir. Horus: Who? Anyway, this looks bad. *enter Sanguinis* What are you doing here? Come to join me? Sanguinius: *throws self on Horus's power claws* Alas, I am undone! When you play Castlevania, remember me! *enter Emprah* Emprah: Horus! So my favorite son killed my favorite daughter! Horus: What about the Lion? Emprah: Never liked her. Horus: No one does. Now prepare to die! *mortally wounds Emprah*Emprah: Au contraire, you dick. *kills Horus* Dorn: Okay, now I just plug this into this and . . . okay, it works! Emprah? Hellooooo? Jonson: I did nothing! Guilliman: I did more nothing that you! Jonson: Nuh-uh. I was the most worthless! Guilliman: Have you read my book? Dorn: No one likes that book. Khan: C'mon guys. It's not that bad. Dorn: I guess not. Russ: You all suck. Ima go bring the Emprah back to life.
Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut

Aberystwyth, Wales, UK

Great tutorial Insaniak
Made in us
Ork-Hunting Inquisitorial Xenokiller

Very nice man.

Quote: Gwar - What Inquisitor said.
Made in us
Servoarm Flailing Magos


This is great! Now maybe I can sculpt my own chaplain's skull, since the one I have isn't all that awe-inspiring. Thanks for a great tutorial!

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Made in ca
Pyromaniac Hellhound Pilot


Wow, thanks!! I always love to see actual sculpting stuff on here! This is a great tutorial, thanks for making it.

It's better to simply be an idiot, as no one can call you on it here. -H.B.M.C.

Cap'n Gordino's instant grammar guide:
"This is TOO expensive." "I'm going TO the store, TO get some stuff."
"That is THEIR stuff." "THEY'RE crappy converters."
"I put it over THERE." "I'll go to the store THEN."
"He knows better THAN that." "This is NEW." "Most players KNEW that." 
Made in gb
Hungry Little Ripper

Midlands, UK

very cool, if i ever pick up orks again i might have to make a few banners using this method
Made in gb
Krazed Killa Kan

Great tutorial! Thanks!

Made in us
Dankhold Troggoth

Shadeglass Maze

I thought the introduction was pretty funny, because I always think GW stuff has skulls Everywhere! I usually want to take them off, not add them

But this is a great tutorial!! I am going to try to apply the principles to another small sculpting project I am about to attempt . Thanks for posting this!
Made in ca
Automated Rubric Marine of Tzeentch

Nova Scotia

Certainly one of the better tutorials for sculpting I've seen! May I have another?
Made in us
Tunneling Trygon

Well, great sculpting, but what possible use could we have for skulls in 40K?

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Made in gb
Hungry Little Ripper

Midlands, UK

theres alot of skull motifs for space marines, especially for anyone who collects legion of the damned.
Made in au
Cutting stuff up and bunging it back together in new and interesting ways.

Under the couch

anticitizen013 wrote:Certainly one of the better tutorials for sculpting I've seen! May I have another?

Well, since you asked so nicely... stay tuned tomorrow...

Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut

this is awesome! please make more
Made in gb
Bounding Assault Marine

I think you should have your very own tutorial forum just so you can wow us all with loads of sculpting projects. Excellent tutorial!!!
Made in gb
Scuttling Genestealer

In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war and skulls. And now there are more skulls! Hooray for Insaniak!

I know. I'm evil.
I saw weird stuff in that place last night. Weird, strange, sick, twisted, eerie, godless, evil stuff. And I want in.

Made in it
Blood Angel Neophyte Undergoing Surgeries

Vicenza (Italy)

U will be my personal hero 4 the next 10 minutes....a simply way to make skulls....just Amasng *.*


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Agile Revenant Titan


Nice tutorial. Please make more.

Eldar -5000 points 
Made in ca

Somewhere cold...

these could make sweet DE paint tokens!

Help him grow please :3 
Made in us
Veteran Wolf Guard Squad Leader


This was great! I'm going to go try this.

2500 pts

Horst wrote:This is how trolling happens. A few cheeky posts are made. Then they get more insulting. Eventually, we revert to our primal animal state, hurling feces at each other while shreeking with glee.

Made in us
Veteran Inquisitorial Tyranid Xenokiller

The Peripheral

And now... to make 100,000 of them. To the Catacombs!

Made in gb
Secret Inquisitorial Eldar Xenexecutor

Leeds, UK

Fantastic, just what I needed thanks. Now any chance of a tutorial on how to make a skull helmet that suitable for a chaplain? I can't keep the necessary spherical shape of a helmet with losing detail on the skull, or vice versa

Made in au
Cutting stuff up and bunging it back together in new and interesting ways.

Under the couch

The key there is doing it in two stages... Make the basic head shape, let it set, and then add the 'face'.

If I get a spare minute, I'll see if I can throw something together.

Made in gb
Secret Inquisitorial Eldar Xenexecutor

Leeds, UK

Great, thanks

Made in us
Boosting Space Marine Biker

Decatur, IL

Very cool tutorial, would enjoy more tutorials and tips on GS if you have any. Especially the SM Chaplin one that everyone else is asking for.

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